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A Dance for Gloria

Gloria Maestas loves and appreciates the beauty of Colorado and its vast cultural offerings. Her declining health has made it difficult to enjoy these things.

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A Dance for Gloria

Gloria Maestas loves and appreciates the beauty of Colorado and its vast cultural offerings. Her declining health has made it difficult to enjoy these things. The staff at Sangre de Cristo Hospice arranged a very special cultural ceremony for Gloria.  Grupo Xochitl, a group that celebrates Aztek Indian traditions, brought their gift of song, prayer, and dance to Gloria at her home.   

The 85 year-old former schoolteacher from Pueblo has COPD and each day she struggles to breathe.  The staff at Sangre de Cristo Hospice has helped Gloria stay in her home where she’s surrounded by her loved ones.  Gloria’s caregiver, Carolina, is bilingual and speaks Spanish with her during their visits. 

According to Tarrah Schreiner, chief executive officer at Sangre de Cristo Hospice, many people on the team can speak Spanish.  Southern Colorado has a large Latino population and the organization services several Latino families.  Gloria is bilingual but seems most comfortable and at ease when she’s visiting with Carolina in Spanish. Carolina helps Gloria with her baths and showers.   Having a caregiver who can speak to the patient in their native tongue can add ease to a situation that can be very stressful and uncomfortable.

Gloria and her family gathered outside of her home to enjoy the ceremony Sangre de Cristo Hospice organized.  The group did a special dance that translates into a prayer.  At one time Gloria might have traveled to see something like this.  Now that she is homebound, her hospice team is making sure that she still has access to the things she loves most; her love of history and the cultural richness of Colorado. 

“Hospice is so much more,” says Talonna Martinez, social worker at Sangre de Cristo Hospice. “It is about connecting with people – living – not dying.  It’s about creating memories for patients and their families and their children.  It’s a beautiful thing.”

As the ceremony ends, Gloria gathered with her family and friends for a photo.  The smile on her face is infectious and one can see that she’s enjoyed her day. Another moment made possible by hospice.  

To learn more about Sangre de Cristo Hospice, please visit: www.socohospice.org.

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